BOSTON — The gap between the Islanders and one of the best of the Eastern Conference stays demonstrably high — and the demonstration in query occurred on Thursday evening at TD Garden.
The Islanders left Boston with just as many questions as after they came, together with the additional baggage of a 5-2 loss to the Bruins, their fourth in five games, to proceed a tailspin that’s in need of correction and fast.
Charlie Coyle’s power-play goal 6:06 into the second period put Boston ahead entering the third, however the leads to the last 20 minutes weren’t so different from when playing from behind as that they had been when holding a lead.
It looked like things may go in a different way after Simon Holmstrom scored shorthanded to tie the sport just 10 seconds right into a Boston power play.
But David Pastrnak quickly rectified that with a left-circle shot that squirted through Ilya Sorokin’s pads and gave Boston a 3-2 lead 3:31 into the third.
Coyle added one other Boston goal at 9:26 of the period, attending to the backdoor to complete James van Riemsdyk’s feed as Samuel Bolduc was caught out.
More telling, though, was that for the second time in as many five-on-five goals against, the Islanders’ second line — with Pierre Engvall a healthy scratch — was on the ice.
At five-on-five, that was the story of the sport.
With Anders Lee skating in Engvall’s place, the road with Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri didn’t have anywhere near the identical speed or spark.
Engvall, whose speed is essential to the road’s ability to transition, was badly missed and the Bruins’ line of Coyle, Trent Frederic and James van Riemsdyk dominated the sport, as Coyle sealed his first profession hat trick with a late empty-net goal.
This was the primary time this season that coach Lane Lambert has attempted to send a message by benching a veteran.
But on Thursday, the message became that Engvall’s services are too vital to waste within the press box.
And whether the intended effect takes hold in the long term or not, there isn’t a doubt that benching Engvall badly hurt the Islanders’ probabilities of getting two points.
It doesn’t help, either, that Sorokin has lost five of his last six starts and was lower than invincible on Thursday, stopping just 29 of 33 shots.
Just 3:18 after Frederic put the Bruins ahead with a goal from the high slot, he opened the door to the Islanders tying the sport by getting sent off for cross-checking.
Brock Nelson deposited a rebound off Noah Dobson’s initial shot, allowing the Islanders to flee to the primary intermission tied at one.
The slew of issues underpinning the Islanders’ game seemed a little bit bit more manageable on this game, which is to say they didn’t spend such a heinous period of time in their very own zone, no less than after struggling through the opening minutes.
But ironing out the issues is proving to not be an easy fix and taking steps forward shouldn’t be similar to ameliorating things altogether.
Again on Thursday the Islanders had too many one-and-done probabilities and left potential grade-A looks on the table in failing to get shots off.
Still there are too few pucks deep, too little forechecking and in consequence not enough sustained pressure. Going 200 feet against the Islanders shouldn’t be as hard correctly, and that continues to be no small issue.
Regardless of who’s within the lineup, that can’t proceed.